Newswise — Halloween is an ancient holiday of mixed origins. In the U.S., it’s child-focused, with costume parties, trick-or-treating, carved pumpkins and an onslaught of horror movies. Few adults, handing out chocolates to kids dressed as Spiderman and Princess Elsa, assume there is anything evil behind the masks and the sugar highs: that lurking at their front door is a potential Damien from “The Omen,” Regan from “The Exorcist” or “Rosemary’s Baby,” now in third grade.
But not so fast. “Andrew Scahill knows that childhood can be scary,” says W. Scott Poole, author of “Monsters in America.” Scahill’s new book, released by Palgrave MacMillan, appropriately enough, in the month of October, is titled “The Revolting Child in Horror Cinema,” and explores the dark underside of this genre. Its subtitle, “Youth Rebellion and Queer Spectatorship,” is a tipoff to the provocative direction that his research takes: The “revolting child” in such films as “The Bad Seed,” “Village of the Damned,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Exorcist” and “The Omen” is a stand-in for the queer or homosexual child, with her or his various incarnations: the child with a secret, the child “taken over” by monstrosity in adolescence, the changeling child, and the cabal of queer youth.
According to Harry Benshoff, author of “Monsters in the Closet: Homosexuality and Horror Film,” Scahill’s book “argues for the queer pleasures and revolutionary potentials inherent in the figure of the monstrous child. … Informed, informative, and fun-to-read … (it) explores why we love to hate our monstrous offspring.”
Scahill, who earned his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin and taught at George Mason and Georgetown universities, is on faculty at Salisbury University, MD. For interviews, call 410-543-6030. A reviewer’s copy is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.